Atlanta Music Scene

Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta’s vibrant and evolving music scene. From hot new artists to Music Midtown to shows at the Tabernacle, she’s got you covered.

Dolly Parton tour will keep things 'Pure & Simple'

Dolly Parton knows how to make an entrance, even on the phone.

“Dolly on the line!” she chirps in that instantly recognizable Tennessee twang.

The country behemoth is preparing for her first major tour in 20 years — she’ll visit Duluth as the second date of the run, June 4 at Infinite Energy Center — which will roll through the end of the year and coincide with the release of her 43rd album, “Pure & Simple With Dolly’s Biggest Hits.”

The double-CD, due Aug. 19, features several new songs — some of which she plans to play in concert — as well as enduring fan favorites.

Its title is indicative of the type of tour Parton plans to present — largely acoustic with no ostentatious stage production, just Parton and three band members.

Earlier this spring, Parton hopped on the phone with a handful of journalists to discuss the new tour and album, as well as her everlasting youthful appearance and what a day off means in Dolly’s world.

Q: It’s been a couple of decades since you went on a tour of this extent. Why now and what are your plans for the set list?

A: I’m excited about it. We’ve done a few shows over the past several years, but everything seems to be going really good right now with the “Coat of Many Colors” (TV special) and “Blue Smoke” CD (released in 2014). We’ll be out there June through December. We’ll of course be doing the old favorites — “I’ll Always Love You,” “Here You Come Again,” “Jolene,” “9-to-5,” “Islands in the Stream.” We’ll do our little gospel thing and have our corny jokes. We’ll have some fun things for everybody. But I have a new CD coming out, “Pure & Simple,” and it’s all love songs, so maybe we’ll do three or four songs from that and the regular family things like “Coat of Many Colors.”

Q: What might we hear from the new album?

A: The title song I like a lot and I’m going to open the show with it. Another is called “Outside Your Door,” which is a simple, soulful little piece. These are all new songs with the exception of two (on “Pure & Simple”). It is a double-CD set and the other is Dolly’s greatest hits, which will have some of THE songs that people have to and want to hear. You have to do what fans demand. People expect me to do those songs about home. People expect a little bit of gospel stuff. It’s really hard to know what to pick to get the dynamics that you need for the show.

Q: Your tour kicks off in Greensboro, N.C. A lot of artists have canceled shows in North Carolina because of the controversial bathroom law. What are your feelings about that?

A: I have no plans to cancel the show. I think I serve better from the stage and doing what we do. I think everybody should be treated with respect, everybody knows that about me. But I don’t see any need to be canceling the show … I really don’t like to get caught up in controversial issues, and I certainly don’t think it’s fair to the public. I can address whatever my thoughts are, if need be, from the stage.

Q: What’s a day off like for you?

A: (Laughs) What’s a day off? My husband and I always try to have the weekends free and go to our lake house and sit around and act lazy and get ready to go back to work. Read some, sleep a lot.

Q: What is still on your bucket list?

A: My bucket list is filled with all kinds of things. I do someday hope to see my life story on Broadway. I would love to have a cosmetic line.

Q: You just turned 70 and still look fabulous. What keeps you looking so young?

A: Good doctors, good lighting and good makeup! (Laughs) And a good attitude!


Dolly Parton

7:30 p.m. June 4. $55-$95. Infinite Energy Center (formerly the Arena at Gwinnett Center), 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-626-2464,

Follow the AJC Music Scene on Facebook and Twitter.

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.